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Buying fireworks in Texas to celebrate the Fourth of July? Here's what you need to know

Thinking about setting off your own fireworks in North Texas? Here's what you should know before buying them.
Fireworks just outside downtown Fort Worth on the Fourth of July. Photo: Geli Zenitram

TEXAS, USA — Fourth of July is just around the corner, and that means the next few days will be colorful, loud and full of fireworks.

If you want to celebrate independence day and see a fireworks show in North Texas, we have a list of the perfect places to go to.

If instead, you want to get some of your own, we answer some frequently-asked questions about buying fireworks in Texas and their use in major North Texas cities. BUT be aware that state fireworks laws change every year, and every city or area has their own rules. 

Contact your local officials if you have any questions.

RELATED: Sparklers are still dangerous: How to keep your kids safe on July 4th

What type of fireworks are permitted in Texas for the general public?

The state of Texas only allows 1.4G fireworks for consumers. That means only the small devices that are usually sold in local stores like wedding sparklers, smoke devices, snappers, roman candles, parachutes, firecrackers, and every other firework that meets the requirements of CPSC and DOT Consumer Fireworks definitions.

The small rockets, usually known as "sky rockets," are prohibited at all times if they meet the following, according to the state fire marshal's office:

  • they have less than 4 grams in propellant, 
  • the casings are less than 5/8 of an inch for the outside diameter, 
  • they are less than 3-1/2 inches in length 
  • the overall length including the stick is less than 15 inches.

When can Texans buy fireworks?

There's a time frame in which fireworks can be sold, usually in the days prior to a major holiday.

  1. From June 24 to July 4
  2. From May 1 to May 5 (only if sold at a location that is not more than 100 miles from the Texas-Mexico border, and with approval from the County Commissioners Court)
  3. From Dec. 20 to Jan. 1

There are counties that allow more dates for holidays like Texas Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo, and San Jacinto Day.

Is there an age limit for buying fireworks?

You need to be at least 16 years old to buy fireworks.

But a person who is younger than 21 years of age may not be issued a public fireworks display permit.

When can Texans use fireworks?

You can use fireworks any day of the year as long as they are not banned in the area you live.

Where can't Texans shoot fireworks?

Texas can NOT explode or ignite fireworks in these places:

  • Within 600 feet of any church, hospital, an asylum or a school unless you have written authorization from that organization.
  • Within 100 feet of a place where flammable liquids or compressed gasses are stored.
  • Within 100 feet of a place where fireworks are stored or sold.
  • In or from a motor vehicle

Preparing your own display?

If you plan to host a 4th of July fireworks display that requires a permit on or before July 6:

For more information: Go to Texas Department of Insurance's website, email FMLicensing@TDI.texas.gov or call 512-676-6800.

How to check if someone has a Texas pyrotechnic operator's license?

Contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 800-578-4677 or Fire.Marshal@tdi.texas.gov.

Now, what about rules in the DFW area?

Most cities in the DFW ban fireworks in and within 5,000 feet outside the city limits. Fines are up to $2,000 for either possession, use, manufacture, selling, transport or shooting of any kind of firework. Officials may also seize any fireworks. 

Cities include Dallas, Forth Worth, Arlington, Denton, Grapevine, Plano, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, and more.

Dallas

The city of Dallas and the Police Department warn residents that discharging a firearm on the 4th of July is also illegal with fines up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.

Call 311 or 911 to report any illegal fireworks. 

RELATED: Dallas Police Department urges residents to not set off fireworks or celebratory gunfire on New Year's

Fort Worth

While Tarrant County allows fireworks in designated areas with permission of the property or land owner, these are illegal in Fort Worth and within 5,000 feet outside the city limits. Residents are asked to contact 817-392-3000 to report fireworks.  

Arlington

The city of Arlington asks residents to report illegal fireworks on their new website: arlingtonpd.org/webapps/fireworksform/

Fireworks Safety Tips for Consumers

The Texas Department of Insurance recommends consumers to:

  • Always buy fireworks from an established retail outlet. 
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors in cleared areas away from houses, buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials
  • Keep water handy for fires and emergencies. 
  • Never experiment or attempt to make homemade fireworks.  
  • Light only one firework at a time. 
  • Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks; soak them in water and throw away. 
  • Never give fireworks to small children. 
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. 
  • Never throw fireworks at another person. 
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket. 
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers. 
  • Wear eye protection when shooting fireworks. 
  • After shooting them, soak fireworks in water before putting them in the trash.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the dates when fireworks can be sold.